Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Monday, August 15, 2011

Excitement in the touch tanks

Have you ever seen a cockle scoot away from a sea star? Well, you should've been at the Harbor WildWatch touch tanks last weekend at Kopachuck Beach!

Here's our kiddie pool where the naturalist put a variety of sea stars that she found on the beach at low tide. The slender orange ones are mottled stars and the purple one is an ochre star. We also found the cockle in its hinged shell (lower right). It tolerated the sunflower sea star creeping over it briefly, then ...

... out shot its HUGE muscular foot, in the photo above. It whipped the foot around and escaped from the sea star. We put it in a separate tank so it could relax. (The sunflower star is very predatory.)

This is the underside of the pink sea star, showing its little suction tube feet that allow it to creep across the sea floor.

Here is our naturalist showing two of our junior naturalists something as they collect critters for the touch tanks.

Chris, one of the junior naturalists, holds a small moon snail, which you can see better in the photo below. That's a chiton in the upper left.

This is what our HWW setup looks like at Kopachuck. (That's Farmer Dave, aka Mister Biologist, in his volunteer shirt.) The kayak rental is a business from Gig Harbor.

This goose seemed pretty interested in me. It swam straight toward me, looked at me a long time from a few feet away, then walked away after I took a few photos.

We'll set up touch tanks again on these dates:

Friday, Aug. 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Joemma State Park

Saturday, Aug. 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at both Kopachuck and Penrose State Parks

This Saturday, Aug. 20, from 5-11 p.m., is a special program at Skansie Park in downtown Gig Harbor:

We'll have a diver bringing up sea critters from near the dock and placing them in touch tanks, then there will be an outdoor viewing of the Disney film "Oceans," and when it gets dark we'll set up lights in the water at the end of Jerisich Dock to attract more sea creatures.


Have a colorful day


Judys Fiber Art said...

Ok, I was totally creeped out by the fish. Would not touch one to save my life. But I am sure the naturalists were having a good time.

Sherrie Spangler said...

I guess they do look slimy and creepy in the closeups, but the colors are nice.

Performance PI said...

Lovely, lovely photos. That one of the underside of the pink starfish was superb!

I love touch tanks. Too bad that I live more than 1000 miles from Washington and the Pacific... no sea critters in the waters of Missouri-Kansas. Hope you have perfect weather and lots of fun.